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2021 Gameday brings us back to full capacity at NRG Stadium. It'll be exhilarating to hear and feel the crowd on opening day as we gather as 70,000+ strong for the first time in a long time.
In anticipation of the occasion I decided to rank the top five crowd-experience days in the history of the franchise. These games and moments, I feel, produced the loudest and most passionate reactions. I know there are playoff wins and other instances that aren't on this list but these stood out to me as at least a little more intense than whatever I left off.
5. Dallas, 2014
OK, this one might have been a road game (and a loss) but it didn't feel like it as dozens of thousands of Battle Red clad Texans fans took over the stadium in Big D. Sure, opposing fans are known to flock to Arlington but no one ever invaded the Cowboys' home gym like the Traveling Texans. The Houston contingent was so loud that Tony Romo had to go to a silent count in his own building. We'll get another shot at this in 2022.
4. Atlanta, 2011
T.J. Yates was making his first start after coming off the bench the previous week in relief of Matt Leinart, who replaced injured Matt Schaub. The defense was coming off a seven sack game against Jacksonville and Bulls on Parade was in full bloom. Every time the Texans needed a stop it was so loud you couldn't hear yourself think. The crowd knew they had an effect on the game and played their part. Houston won 17-10, the sixth consecutive victory at the time.
3. Indianapolis, 2014
The Texans didn't win this one. In fact, they fell behind 24-0 to Andrew Luck's crew. But in the 4th quarter they cut the lead to five when J.J. Watt picked up a fumble and ran it into the end zone. The crowd exploded. You thought the roof was going to blow off the building. It was Watt's third TD of the season and it was magical.
2. Dallas, Sept 8, 2002
No one who was there will ever forget it. We could win 10 Super Bowls and we'll always remember opening night. The whole evening was electric. When David Carr hit Billy Miller for the first TD in team history it was like five years of pain being relieved all at once. Screams of joy trumpeted from every row.
1. Cincinnati, 2011 Playoffs
When Bum Phillips walked out of the tunnel before the team intro, every hair on the back of every neck stood straight up. Houston pro football playoff action was back in town and there was no way the Texans would lose. The defense was fantastic and even scored on Watt's pick-six. Second-half TDs by Arian Foster and Andre Johnson sent the place into a frenzy. It was a perfect day.